A seasoned appellate attorney, Lara Hollingsworth specializes in helping individuals and corporations strategically navigate legal issues from start to stop. From the moment a case comes through the door to trial, and if necessary, on appeal, her skill at advocacy and her mastery of the intricacies of complex legal and procedural issues have consistently produced substantial favorable results.
Lara’s legal career stretches back more than 20 years. After graduating from Baylor Law School, she was honored to serve as a law clerk to two of Texas’ finest jurists, the Honorable Samuel D. Johnson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Honorable James A. Baker on the Texas Supreme Court. As a young lawyer, she was further mentored by Chief District Judge Barbara Lynn of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and by attorney Jeff Levinger, both of whom helped her realize her passion for appellate work. To this day, this remains her practice’s primary focus. In a wide variety of complex commercial and civil litigation matters, clients rely on Lara for strong strategic counsel and her ability to maximize their prospects for success.Read More
When working with a client, Lara listens closely to the client’s concerns and issues. She understands litigation can be stressful and views it as part of her job to craft legal strategies that don’t overwhelm the lives of those she serves. Her goal is always to find practical solutions to the challenges her clients face so that they can return to normal as quickly as possible. She’s highly strategic in her approach, spending considerable time thinking through potential counterarguments and leaving no stone unturned as she devises strategy. Those who work alongside her know Lara isn’t the type to be taken by surprise.
Recently, Lara played an instrumental role representing Enterprise Property Co. in a commercial property dispute involving the former Houston Chronicle building in downtown Houston. She played a large role in securing a significant judgment establishing her client’s property rights, enabling it to move forward with planned development. She assisted Rice University in obtaining an opinion from the Texas Supreme Court confirming the immunity status of a university’s state-commissioned peace officers. Lara also represented four Baylor University regents in high-profile lawsuits brought by two former Baylor employees, including former football coach Art Briles.
A native Houstonian, Lara comes from a family of attorneys. Before joining the team at Rusty Hardin & Associates, she worked with her family’s law firm, Hudgins, Hudgins and Warrick. She and her husband, Derek, also an attorney, have three children. With a daughter playing soccer and two sons playing baseball, football, and basketball, Lara spends much of her time outside the office traveling — sometimes across the country — to games, both as a team mom and a fan.
Public Figures and Institutions
Represented Rice University in a lawsuit based on an arrest by one of its state-commissioned peace officers. Filed a summary judgment in the trial court based on immunity, but it was denied. On appeal, successfully obtained an opinion from the Texas Supreme Court concluding that Rice University was entitled to seek interlocutory appellate review when immunity is denied. Secured a reversal on appeal of the trial court’s denial of summary judgment, resulting in the entire case being dismissed.
Represented baseball legend Roger Clemens in the litigation and appeal of a civil defamation suit against a former trainer. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was named in a report on steroid abuse by baseball players based solely on accusations made by his former trainer, and Mr. Clemens strongly denied that. Handled the appeal of trial court’s granting of immunity to the former trainer and the dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.
Represented Block 58 Investors, LLC, in a commercial dispute involving the right to develop the property where the former Houston Chronicle building was located and the ability to construct an underground tunnel beneath it. Filed a motion for summary judgment that gave the client a term of certainty as to its development. Examined the agreement between the two parties and laid out for the court a strong basis for why the client had a right to develop the property. This effort resulted in the court granting a declaration of rights that were valuable to the client in moving ahead with the development plan.
Represented Smith Energy Company in a commercial dispute against a former business associate for a variety of claims, including theft and breach of contract. The parties entered into oil and gas exploration agreements that required the former business associate to provide certain landman services that he subsequently failed to provide. The case involved two trips to the appellate courts. The first was a mandamus proceeding involving a challenge of the trial court’s refusal to transfer the venue. The second was the appeal of the judgment where the theft and breach-of-contract findings were upheld. Negotiated a favorable settlement of the case while the matter was pending before the Texas Supreme Court.
Represented NCI Building Systems, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of metal construction components, in a fraud claim. The company’s former executive vice president had started a competing business in violation of his retirement agreement, taking more than 370,000 of NCI’s internal company documents without permission. After three weeks of complicated testimony, a jury found the former executive committed fraud, and the trial court awarded NCI a $2.2 million judgment. Provided critical trial support and jury charge work. Successfully maintained the judgment on appeal.